2019-06-01Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.1177/0539018419850771
Evaluations as value-measurement links: Exploring metrics and meanings in science
Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät
This contribution seeks to provide a more detailed insight into the entanglement of value and measurement. Drawing on insights from semiotics and a Bourdieusian perspective on language as an economy of linguistic exchange, we develop the theoretical concept of value-measurement links and distinguish three processes – operationalisation, nomination, and indetermination – as forms in which these links can be constructed. We illustrate these three processes using (e)valuation practices in science, particularly the journal impact factor, as an empirical object of investigation. As this example illustrates, measured values can function as building blocks for further measurements, and thus establish chains of evaluations, where it becomes more and more obscure which values the measurements actually express. We conclude that in the case of measured values such as impact factors, these chains are driven by the interplay between the interpretative openness of language and the seeming tendency of numbers to fixate meaning thus continually re-creating, transforming and modifying values.
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